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U23 World Championships

De Pooter & Mihkels in the U23 rainbow race 

This week, ten riders of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux will represent the colors of eight different teams on the occasion of the World Championships in Wollongong (Australia), a record for the Walloon team. 

Sven Erik Bystrøm and Alexander Kristoff (Norway), Biniam Girmay (Eritrea), Quinten Hermans (Belgium) Jan Hirt (Czech Republic), Lorenzo Rota (Italy), Taco van der Hoorn (The Netherlands) and Georg Zimmermann(Germany) were selected for the road race in the elite category. Trainees Dries De Pooter (Belgium) and Madis Mihkels (Estonia) will race for the rainbow jersey in the U23 category.

On Friday, two days before the elite men’s road race, Dries De Pooter and Madis Mihkels will race in the U23 category. The future riders of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert will start at 5h CEST (13h local time) for 169,8 kilometer, divided in ten laps with each of them containing the Mount Pleasant (1.1km at 8.8%). The last passage on top of this difficulty is eight kilometer before the finish. 

Madis Mihkels (19 year old) will line up for his second World Championship, almost one year after his bronze medal in the junior category in Leuven. Dries De Pooter (19 year old) will represent Belgium for the first time in a World Championship, three weeks after his first success in the U23 category in the opening stage of the Flanders Tomorrow Tour.

« Last season as a first year U23 rider I felt like I was close to conquering a spot in the selection for the World Championships in Leuven. Since then, I doubled my efforts to progress and win the confidence of our national coach. I’m very proud to represent a cycling country like Belgium in such an important event. I’m currently in my best form, thanks to the pro races in which I participated with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert such as the Arctic Race of Norway and several Belgian one day races. So I can’t wait to race! This is my first time out of Europe. I feel better every day since our arrival in Australia last Saturday. We did the course recon a first time on Monday. The Mount Pleasant is really steep, probably twice as hard as the Berendries in the Flemish Ardennes. Our Belgian team will benefit from a hard race. The chances of Lennert Van Eetvelt will be higher if we can eliminate the sprinters and I feel ready to play a role in this strategy! »

« After last year’s bronze medal in Leuven I stepped up to the U23 category with ambition and new goals. My professional victory in the Tour of Estonia in May, against riders such as Kaden Groves, made me very proud. My performance at the Arctic Race of Norway with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert gave me a lot of confidence in the approach towards the World Championships. My training sessions went very well the past couple of weeks, so I felt ready to leave for Australia. It is my first time out of Europe. We arrived in Wollongong on September 14th with my two U23 Estonian teammates. Since we did the recon of the course, I’m dreaming of defending my chances in the race for the rainbows. Mount Pleasant is very steep and I expect several nations to make the race hard, but I also believe in the scenario of a group sprint, which would be ideal for me! »


General Classification


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